Published at P2P-Foundation on 11th April 2015.
|Image: Kathy Simon|
IF ONE THING, MORE THAN ANY OTHER, distinguishes a real neighborhood from the corporate machine-architecture of the 20th-century developer, it is the fact that real people have — together — conceived it, planned it, and built it. It is this human reality which makes it worth living in, pleasant to be there, and valuable. - Christopher AlexanderI do so often hear the claim that people care most about what they own. That’s a myth. As everything is interwoven, only a shared creation can be loved.
The Western view of property was created out of the destruction of the Native North Americans, using the philosophy of John Locke for all its worth. Well, Locke was actually arguing for the property rights of the nobility, but the settlers adapted his teaching for justifying their takeover of Indian land.
What the settlers did was that they destroyed the beautiful commons of the Native Americans, replacing it with a Cartesian hell of property rights. This is also the reason why Garrett Hardin’s essay “The Tragedy of the Commons” found such a fertile soil in the Western mind, and became like our civilization’s parallel to Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount”.
Read more about this in David Bollier’s essay: The Fateful Choice: The Pilgrims Assign Private Property Rights in Land.
The sad truth is that with this atomized worldview, where everybody does their own thing on their sacred property lot; in the end everything will be destroyed. And this way we lose the goal with our lives, the meaning of our existence. And we commit a terrible sin to the Earth.
Read more about this in my essay: Let’s Make Our World Whole.
In the world today we only find a few places created out of shared value. One of these is Damanhur in Italy. I hope to someday bring my family there for a period, to experience how our insane world of property could have been like if it was shared. If Me were We!
But even our world is no longer shared, but owned, the commons has again set new sprouts in these darkest of times.
Our societies have become a nightmare of disconnected parts, where we hate our lives and hate each other. As I just read in a Norwegian newspaper, never before have Norwegians quarreled more in the courts, and newer have there been more lawyers in Norway than today. To be sure, our Lockean/Cartesian society has become a paradise for the lawyers. When the commons is destroyed, the lawyers become fat.
It’s time to make a change! Let’s wreck John Locke and replace him with Ellinor Ostrom. Let’s learn from the commons the settlers destroyed. What is strange to think about, the settlers did not just destroy the USA; with their achievements they also destroyed my own country, Norway, which is now nothing but a slum of modernity.
To get inspiration for our fight, in spite of that everything is destroyed, read the essay by Mehaffy & Salingaros: A Vision for Architecture as More Than the Sum of Its Parts.